Kokoro Connect

June 16, 2013

How often do you have the sci-fi and high school genre mashed together? Thoughts of To Aru Majutsu No Index and To Aru Kagaku No Railgun may come to mind. But how about without all the over the top power blasting and action sequences? That means all you have is just lots of drama interaction between the characters. For those who would love the sci-fi genre that involves human bonding and not too much violence, then check out Kokoro Connect. Imagine you are a high school kid. You already have enough problems for your age. Puberty, rebellious and raging hormones, secret love and crushes, homework, tests, club activities, etc. Life is already hectic enough when suddenly the last thing you need is another set of problems. The kind that only exists in sci-fi novels.

Five friends of a certain high school one day suddenly start to experience strange and odd occurrences. They have no control over it and do not know when the phenomenon will hit them again next or when it will end. Worse still, some wise guy or alien or whoever he is tells them this is part of some twisted experiment just to find something interesting. What kind of sicko idea is this? Is this what they call entertainment? Well, why or how this is happening to them is the least of their problems. Although they are at the whims and mercy of this being, going through this phenomenon puts their friendship to the ultimate test. Will it make or break them? Will they grow stronger or descend into craziness? I suppose praying to God won’t really solve your woes because if such sci-fi incidents can occur, chances are God might not even exist. All they have is themselves to rely on and to pull through each excruciating moment while discovering their true selves and others in the process.

Hito Random

Episode 1
Students in Yamaboshi High School are required to join a club. However there are some that are unable to join one because their club has been cancelled due to lack of members. Taichi Yaegase is the only member of his wrestling club. Yui Kiriyama wanted a fancy club for cute things. Yoshifumi Aoki thought there was a club that ‘hits the town’ every night. Iori Nagase had too many clubs to choose from and lets her teacher pick one. Himeko Inaba wanted to join the computer club but had a fall out with the president. All these individuals eventually ended up in a newly formed club called Cultural Research Club (CRC). Taichi, Iori and Inaba are discussing about the news article they want to publish. Iori thinks Inaba should write something erotic. It’s fine as long as Iori is the one having her pictures taken. They ask Taichi’s suggestion. He thinks both of them should strip! Inaba twists his words and will report that he commanded 2 girls to strip. Well, he doesn’t deny it but at least make his name anonymous. The remaining members come in and they have a hard time trying to convey what they want to say. Last night, both of them swapped bodies. Inaba doesn’t believe them and thinks this is a bad joke. Yui confirms this because they both woke up to suddenly find themselves in a different room. Were they dreaming the same dream?

Iori forgot her notebook and returns to class to get them. Suddenly she feels like a different person. In fact, it is a different person in her body. It’s Taichi. What’s the first thing he did when he finds himself in a girl’s body? Grope your own boobs! Is this true? Are these real? Classmate Maiko Fujishima sees her in this unholy act. She gets turned on in wanting to do it for her (I get a feeling she has romantic yuri feelings for her)! Iori (Taichi) is saved when Taichi (Iori) rushes in to bring her away. A tug of war begins. Taichi (Iori) makes Fujishima let go by groping her boobs! The duo return to the club room and realize what Aoki and Yui said were true. Of course Inaba still refuses to believe this joke. The only way to prove it is to ask something that the other would only know. She asks some adult film they borrowed and Aoki confirms this is really Taichi in Iori’s body. Inaba also confirms herself that Iori is in Taichi’s body with an embarrassing question. Because she believes Taichi wouldn’t be able to show this much emotion even if he’s acting. That’s an insult, right? Yui mentions that the body swap thingy lasted around 30-40 minutes. Just then, Taichi and Iori revert back to their own bodies. The friends return to their respective home wondering if this was just a one day phenomenon. They agree not to tell anyone since what are the changes they will believe them. Also, they don’t not want their family to get worried.

Episode 2
Seems this phenomenon continues tomorrow. Yui is in Aoki, Aoki is in Inaba and Inaba is in Yui. While lamenting this in the club room, suddenly everyone returns to their original bodies. Because of that swap, they were skipping class so Inaba, Iori and Taichi got summoned by their casual teacher, Gotou or fondly known as Gossan. Inaba comes up with a reason to let them all off the hook. Then during recess, another swap happens. A little panic here before they return back to normal. Yui is in a pinch because when Taichi was in her body, he entered the boy’s toilet! Now she’s stuck inside! Later when Iori finds out Taichi had groped her own boobs when he was in her body, she gets upset and worked up. While they’re quarrelling this pointless topic (Inaba even reveal their cup sizes), Gossan comes in. Erm, isn’t he acting a little strange? He is not Gossan. Calling himself Balloon Vine (fuusen kazura), he is the one responsible for their body swapping. He is observing them and borrowing Gossan’s body to communicate. They will be randomly swapping bodies with each other and he will be observing them although not 24/7 because for the sake of privacy. Seriously. He did this without their permission but also respects their privacy? He is doing this because they are an interesting bunch of people and he hopes that the swap will have him find something interesting. He advises them to live their lives normally and not tell anyone about this. They don’t need to think about how their personalities switch too. Inaba wants to question him more but he easily pushes her away. Not even Yui’s kick had any effect.

As the friends walk home, Iori mentions she talked to Gossan and he had no memories that he went to their club room. For the time being, they are to keep this among themselves and if they switch bodies and bump into somebody, act like the person they switch with. But after a week, seems they keep screwing up. Especially going to the toilet part. The girls are worried over their purity if the guys swapped with them. Yui notes to Iori that when they swapped, Yui’s place was void of anyone and was alone. It’s dangerous for a girl to be alone. Iori says her parents are divorced and she lives with her mom who works late. Yui still feels that is not okay. The swapping continues and Iori now in Aoki’s body asks Taichi a question about everyone having a soul, consciousness and personality. Physical attributes allow one to identify but these are not tangible or visible. Basically, bodies are the essence of their identities. So if they switch bodies, will they still be themselves? In class, Fujishima needs volunteers to help in this month’s duty to clean up the city. Taichi and Inaba had just switched bodies so the guy volunteers, shocking Fujishima that Inaba actually volunteered. In retaliation, Inaba volunteers too. During the clean up, Fujishima asks it straight to Inaba (Taichi) about her relationship with Iori. Aren’t they just club members? But Taichi (Inaba) gets cheeky and makes it clear that Iori is his woman and to keep her hands off her!

Episode 3
Now that Inaba and Taichi have switched back, he wonders why she did so. He doesn’t want to make enemies. She wants him to save her from Fujishima’s hands. Because he’s in love with her, right? Taichi disagrees with this so Inaba calls him a selfless freak. For example, why did he volunteer for this useless clean up? If he doesn’t, they’d be spared of the suffering. As for Iori, she’s the weakest in CRC and has never seen her so close to breaking down. She thinks that weakness is what she wants and will just have to protect her. She also tells him Iori likes him and needs someone to set her identity. As she is the most vulnerable, this body swap can ruin any one of them any time. Because Taichi isn’t that worried since all the troubles they ran into were minor, Inaba blows her top that he is slow. Because this phenomenon is a disaster. In the club room, if you’re wondering why Inaba and Yui are recording sultry love confessions in their handphone, it’s actually the guys body swapped with them and they’re not going to let this chance go. Of course the real duo come back and before they could run, they ring them in. Disgusted at what they’re doing, Inaba in Aoki’s body is going to strip naked and run around school. He doesn’t care if he dies socially. So I guess the guys learn their lesson never to mess with their bodies again. Or else. They are made to become their gophers doing errands. Aoki notices Yui shaking. He quickly apologizes for not noticing about her fear of men. She runs away and Inaba goes after her. Aoki feels bad because he can’t believe he never noticed this on the girl he loves despite she was good in hiding it. He has hurt her pretty bad. Later on their way out, Aoki thinks Taichi is much suited for Yui because he is the type who would just jump in to save her. He fears that she might even fall for him.

When Taichi is talking to his sister, he suddenly finds himself in Yui’s room. And she is crying. They call to meet up. Taichi is the second person after Inaba that she will reveal her reason of having fear of men. When she was in middle school, a man nearly raped her. She was able to fight her way out since she took karate lessons. But it soon dawned to her that men were really strong and had this mentality formed she could never win against them. Taichi wants to help her and prove that she can’t lose to any man. The quickest way to teach her is to kick right at the crotch! OUCH! Remember, they are still in each other’s body. What the hell is this excruciating pain?! Suddenly they swap back and Taichi is so screwed. How does it feel to get kicked by yourself? Most painful thing ever. They retreat when Fujishima is coming by walking her dog. Though Yui isn’t happy that she had to feel a man’s pain, at least it worked for her. Every guy is the same. They can’t do anything after something like that. Yui is grateful that he was willing to hurt his own body to give her encouragement and confidence. Next day in school, Yui happily thanks Taichi. Their other friends suspect something must have happened for them to be this close. I don’t think Aoki is going to buy the fact that he just listened to her. Inaba wonders how he did it. All he did was to give her a push. She is glad that something good came out of this body swapping because all she could think of was disaster. Suddenly Inaba collapses.

Episode 4
Resting in the infirmary, there is nothing life threatening on Inaba. She’s just not feeling well. Taichi and Iori walk Inaba home so the girls force him to tell what happened between him and Yui. Inaba is laughing her ass off after hearing how he did it. Does it still hurt down there? Or does his heart hurt now? However Iori seems sad. She never knew Yui was so afraid of men. Taichi says to just treat her the same as always. Inaba notes that Taichi and Iori match each other. She also reminds Taichi that his kindness can hurt people too. I know. He hurt himself. Bad. After seeing off Inaba into her home, Iori will tell him her past if he promises to treat her the same as always. At the bridge, Iori says she has 5 dads. Woah. What? Legally, she has only 3. Her second that was the problematic one because he was violent. She observed that if she did what he wanted, he won’t get mad. That was her goal. So she changed her tastes and personality to suit him. In other words, there are a few versions of her. After he left, her mom was apologetic that she never thought how she felt and should live the way she wants. But that’s the problem. She didn’t know how to live the way she wanted. Because of her multiple personalities, she didn’t know what she liked. Then this body swapping came along. She lost so much of her original self and at the rate they’re going, she’ll lose whatever little remains and before long she’ll fade away. Taichi won’t let that happen because he will always know who she is. He stops short of confessing his love when he remembers the selfless freak word.

Taichi and Inaba had a short spell of body swap and the former felt another round of pain since Inaba is sick. He wants to help but she is adamant she will be okay. Since he is adamant, she lets him know then. She can’t trust anyone. Ever since the body swapping phenomenon, whatever someone does, be it crime or not, the responsibility falls on the body’s original owner. This is worrying her to a point she can’t sleep and she hates herself for being able to imagine things like that. Taichi assures they won’t hate her but Inaba still feels everyone is her enemy. Especially Taichi. She might not have trauma like Iori or Yui but she has been distrustful of others since birth. The only way to change that is to stop being herself. Taichi believes everyone will accept her and just to tell it to them. She can’t do something that risky. Anyhow, she needs to accept herself first. Taichi is willing to tell her a deep secret. The kind that could destroy his school life. He has masturbated to Inaba before. And to Yui and Iori too. She starts laughing and then labels him a pervert (and other equivalents). Though that part of him is fine, she just feels everything is just stupid. She becomes emotional wondering if he’s trying to make her fall for him. So when Inaba reveals this to the rest, they feel she’s just over thinking things and a worrywart. They assure they won’t do anything bad if they’re in her body. With this over, Taichi feels embarrassed about his deep secret and hopes Inaba could forget about it. However she lets him in on a deep secret of her own: She has masturbated to him too. I think she’s joking!

Episode 5
The friends are hiding behind the bush eavesdropping on Aoki trying in one of his attempts to confess to Yui. He asks her feelings on Taichi. She loves him. As a friend. Though she doesn’t hate Aoki, she can’t go out with anyone right now. Aoki is relieved because he still has a chance. Inaba purposely let Taichi and Iori watch this to stimulate them. Later when Iori and Taichi are alone in the club room, seems Iori and Inaba switched. Inaba asks about Taichi’s feelings for Iori. He likes the way they are now and doesn’t want to ruin it. Then Inaba walks in. Taichi realizes he has been tricked. Iori was pretending to be Inaba. She starts crying and runs away. He then remembers it’s his own fault. He told her he would recognize no matter who she is and yet he just failed back there. Inaba punches him and wants him to go after her. He bumps into Fujishima who surprisingly tells where Iori went. He finds her at the bridge and apologizes. She proves that as long as someone else is inside, no one can tell who is really on the inside. Taichi tries to reconcile with her. He wished he could be like her because he can’t show his emotions the way she does. Despite she has multiple personalities, they are all Iori. Once they’re back on good terms, Iori wished that she could be more like him because he knows exactly who he is. No matter who she pretends to be, he’ll always be himself. She wished she could make other people feel more secure like him. Taichi confesses she likes her and wants to go out with her. Suddenly Balloon Vine takes over her body. He apologizes in advance and passes to Taichi, Iori’s handphone before jumping off the bridge! Holy sh*t!!!

Iori is in critical condition and her friends are very worried. When Balloon Vine appears in Gossan’s body, he tells them Iori’s body will die soon. They must decide which one of them will die with Iori’s body and have 30 minutes to do so. During this period, they can voluntarily switch with anybody. So, it’s like telling whom to kill, eh? But they don’t want Iori to die too. And if no decision is made, she will. Well, there’s a possibility Balloon Vine is lying. Taichi wants to be the one but Inaba is not happy with his selfless freak attitude. She thinks he may be helping others but is just doing it for himself. He admits it. He hates seeing others getting hurt and would rather get hurt himself because at least he will know how much it’ll hurt. So she’s right. He’s not doing it for others. He’s doing it for his selfless freak self. Since they need to tell Iori about this, Aoki voluntarily switches with her. So once Iori learns about this, she is willing to die because killing others and living in that body is a sin too heavy for her to bear and live with. So she has a word with each other them privately. Finally Iori (now in Inaba’s body) tells Taichi she can now love herself. Then she breaks down that she doesn’t really want to die since he confessed. She professes she loves him and since they can’t go out, she wants a memory instead. They kiss. The time is up and so Iori decides she will die in her own body. She wants Balloon Vine to promise he will not do this to anyone else. Once the switch is made, the doctor comes out. Don’t tell me it’s over! The doctor is relieved to relay the good news that she will be fine. Balloon Vine pops up and gives them a gift as apology. Everyone is so relieved Iori will live. Inaba realizes he planned this from the start. Balloon Vine says they can do a lot more than they think they can. He never intended to hurt Iori in the first place since they can’t cause such trouble for a normal good person. He even made sure her handphone didn’t get wet. Though he won’t ask to be forgiven, this experience is for their benefit. In no time Iori is back to her normal health and the body swapping has stopped ever since. However there is something that Inaba is not amused with. Taichi took her first kiss with her body, right? Now how is he going to pay her back… That devilish laughter means he won’t get off so easily.

Kizu Random

Episode 6
The body switch has completely stopped so Inaba thinks of catching up on her news article. Inaba and Taichi are the ones only in the club room and Taichi thinks she’s relieving her stress by taking it out on him. Suddenly Inaba starts undressing and goes over Taichi. Is she serious? She wants him to undress too. She falls over him and he has his hand on her breast. Aoki and Yui come in to see this unbelievable scandal. Yui is so mad that she splits the desk into half! Oh sh*t! Iori just came in and is shocked to see Yui’s hand bleeding. That night, Taichi and Iori suddenly get an impulse to call each other. They don’t know why but they just feel like they wanted to talk and hear from each other. She wonders if his feelings have changed since then.  They haven’t. Not a bit. Next day in class, Taichi learns from Iori and Inaba that Aoki and Yui are being detained by the police. Fujishima offers to tell them if they lend Iori to her for 2 hours. Iori is prepared for the worst just for her friends but Fujishima was just joking. She will tell them even if Iori refused. Disappointed after all that mental preparation? Seems several boys from another school tried to hit on girls from Yamaboshi. Yui happened to be there and went too far by beating them up. The police wanted to question her at the station but that’s when Aoki showed up and fought with them. How did Fujishima know all this? Her dad happens to be a highly ranked police. Inaba wants to make some deal with her for useful connections and Fujishima will gladly do it for a cost she’ll keep it cheap for her. The duo fear a terrible combo is in the making. Later in the club room, the gang discuss about Yui beating up boys from another school. See the weird part? Yui is supposed to be afraid of men and even if she did improve, it won’t be this drastic. Then they realize they all experienced something similar. Before they act on an impulse, they heard a voice in their head.

Then Balloon Vine pops up and confirms that they will be hearing them more often. When that happens, their body will act on impulse. To simply put it, the desires in their heart will be unleashed. I guess there is going to be another round of experiment. They’re too interesting to be left alone. It will only end if they show him something interesting. Besides, he is helping them to find their true selves. Inaba asks if a shut-in can be interesting. He puts it this way. If something is not interesting, he’ll make it interesting. The friends realize this desire unleashing phenomenon may be more dangerous than the body swap. Because you can’t help yourself and there is risk of getting others involved. Taichi accidentally points out how Inaba got on top of him. She beats him up but it’s too late because Iori got curious. Inaba just tells her the truth and the reason why she became flirty was because she accidentally saw a dirty picture. Inaba says there are 2 ways to deal with it. Empty their minds so as not to have desires or do whatever they want to avoid stress from building up. They suggest of helping each other out and deal with the situation on a case by case basis. Inaba than shoos away her friends to go home because she wants to finish the article herself. Once they leave, she breaks down. That night, Iori calls Taichi. She wants to maintain their distance for now because of this desire unleashing thingy. She feels it is dangerous considering she still doesn’t know much about herself. At the same time she is glad because with her desires unleashed, she may find out who she really is. Taichi supports her that she can see her true self in how she lives her life since looking at herself objectively is part of who she is. Once they hang up, Taichi vows to make this work. Iori too have to get it right this time.

Episode 7
Inaba wonders why Taichi came late to school. It seems his desire to sleep was unleashed. What? Seems he slept through his alarm. His sister tried to wake him up and since he didn’t, she panicked and thought he died! Mother calmed her down and sent her to school. Shortly after Taichi woke up and was told what happened. So this desire thingy can be unleashed even when he is unconscious? But this is nothing compared to Iori. She’s hiding her head in embarrassment. Apparently earlier in class they had a quiz. She suddenly felt like shouting “Yahoo!” and did just that. In the club room, the gang discuss about Yui. Ever since that incident she has locked herself in her room and skipped school. Aoki gets upset about Balloon Vine pulling such a stunt but before he have this killing intent, Inaba tells him to name 5 good things about Yui to calm him down. Taichi wants to go save her but it seems he let his emotions taken over. The rest try to hold him back. Inaba wants Iori to tackle him from the front but as they’re arguing over this method, Taichi has already calmed down. Later Inaba notes to Taichi that he is the one in the most danger this time. Because at the hospital he was willing to die for Iori. He may die for real this time. The next day, the friends decide to pay Yui a visit. However at the doorstep she tells them to go away. Since Yui’s mom just returned, she brings them in and hopes Yui would come out to see them. She still refuses. They try to persuade her not to make her mom worry so I guess Inaba uses her trump card. She will tell her 3 sizes and instantly Yui opens the door to let them in. Wow. Such magic words.

In her room, Yui seems to have got a pimple on her forehead and put on some weight due to overeating. You can thank her desires unleashed for that. But the real reason why she is staying away is because ever since that incident whereby she beat up those boys, she fears that will happen again and thinks this way no one will get hurt if she isolates herself. However this pisses off Inaba because she too thought of the same idea but remembers Balloon Vines’ words of making things interesting. So if they don’t do anything interesting, he’ll force them too. Which means he can make all of them jump off the bridge and they all will end up in hospital. She scolds Yui that for taking the easy way out, it will cause them further problems. Yui becomes scared and that’s when Inaba realizes her desire to launch a scathing verbal attack got the better of her. Next day in class, a classmate tries to ask Iori about Yui but Iori answered back in a rude way she didn’t know. This causes the classmate to tell her off about her attitude. Taichi notices Inaba not doing anything to protect Iori and it was Fujishima who stepped in to quell the situation. Iori apologizes and the matter is settled. Later Taichi meets Inaba who wants to go straight home instead of visiting Yui. She feels she would make things worse if she went. Before they know it, an argument ensues with especially Taichi accusing her of turning her back on friends. When tears start to well in her eyes, the argument stops. Back in the club room, Iori, Taichi and Aoki think of visiting Yui again when they receive message from her not to come over.

Episode 8
Now Inaba wants to be left alone. She won’t go to the club room or Yui’s house too. Taichi feels he was too harsh on her but Inaba is okay with it. Really? With Taichi, Aoki and Iori left, Taichi feels it’s best to save Yui now. Aoki didn’t like his save everybody mindset. The guys start arguing. The biggest blow came when Taichi accuses Aoki for unable to do anything during the body swapping phenomenon. It could’ve got ugly if Iori didn’t step in to stop them. Unfortunately it got ugly. Taichi pushes her away till she slams her head into the cabinet. When Aoki points out this selfless freak attitude of his that makes others get hurt, the guys suddenly realize and calm down. Relationships among the friends start to strain that it becomes obvious to their other close classmate friends. Fujishima announces the upcoming field trip and are to form groups with 5 to 6 people each. The reason she is doing this is for the purpose of love! How often do you get such opportunity? The smaller the group, the higher chance of you-know-what. Iori invites Inaba to join their group but the latter tells her to stay away. Desires unleashed, Iori argues with her at the top of her voice. After Inaba calms her down, Iori excuses herself to the toilet. Fujishima decides to she will have Iori, Inaba, Taichi and Shingo Watase in her group. Watase has a major crush on Fujishima so joining this group is a dream come true. Inaba doesn’t approve of this but as class rep and defender of love and peace, it is her duty to see that her classmates get along well. No objections!

Later as Taichi sits alone in the classroom, Gossan comes in to request his help to fix a desk. Seems he isn’t possessed by Balloon Vine. Gossan can tell Taichi is depressed and figures he got dumped. He advises him to talk to his friends. Taichi is worried because doing so may hurt them. But Gossan notes that is what being friends is all about. You hurt and cause problems for each other. Eh? What? Anyway, if they’re really friends, everything should work out just fine when you take a direct approach. On the way back, they bump into Fujishima. Gossan wants her to listen to what Taichi has to say. But Fujishima dismisses she is Taichi’s friend. She is his rival! Oh. This just got a little more complicated. So Taichi tells about the talking and the hurting. So how? Don’t talk. But you can’t do something if you don’t talk. Then talk. Eh? But the hurting? Fujishima says which is more important: Not hurting or talking and accomplishing something. There are lots of things that will go wrong if he doesn’t decide. Either way, people hurting each other is inevitable. With Taichi enlightened, he realizes everyone is worried about them, not just themselves. There is more to this world than the 5 of them. When Taichi enters the club room, no one is there. But there is a note on the blackboard from Iori saying that she has gone to visit Yui. After all, the best defence is a good offence.

Episode 9
Iori rushes back to the club room when she got mail from Taichi. He wanted to confess the big jerk he is and his selfless freak attitude of forcing his believes onto everyone. He realizes that he prefers to stay with everyone after distancing himself. It also made him realize he would rather stay and hurt her rather than being separated and not hurt Iori. Those words bring tears to her eyes because she too thought of the same thing. The plan is to tell everyone this. Taichi talks to Aoki first and apologizes first. Aoki feels frustrated because he wanted to do it first but was beaten. The guys made up and admit their shortcomings and jealousy over the other. As the guys make their way to Yui’s house, they had another round of talk. They feel that they did something during their body switch and similarly there’s something they can do when their desires are unleashed. Aoki thinks he has an idea. The guys try to convince Yui to return to school. Same answer. Not going. Don’t want to hurt people. Aoki argues that even if her desires do get unleashed, if her desire not to do it is stronger, then she won’t do it. Aoki wants to prove it to her and starts off by confessing he loves her. He adds he’s got one hell of a dirty mind on that too. He might even assault her! She starts throwing her plushies at the creep but he wants to prove he can suppress his desires. That’s because hurting her is the one thing he will never do to her. He knows it won’t happen but if it does she can beat the crap out of him. Now it’s Taichi’s turn. He asks if she has ever hurt anyone before this incident. There was when she was just practising her martial arts. However that was when she doesn’t know what it meant to hurt someone. Now she does and doesn’t want to hurt others. This proves her desire not to hurt others might be stronger. Yui is convinced and agrees to return to school. She hopes that if she gets violent, they can stop her. Aoki wants her to rephrase that as “Please protect me”. This honourable knight would gladly do so.

With Yui’s return, Iori is so happy that she goes to hug her. Like she has never seen her in 10 years. To celebrate her return, they bought too much food. I guess their desires got unleashed in the convenience store to get everything. Then it turns into a big comical chaotic mess because everybody starts getting their desire unleashed to grab the food they want to eat. Food fight! As Inaba bums around in her own room, she gets a surprise visit from Gossan. It’s not Gossan! It’s Balloon Vine! He’s here to tell her it’s not over yet. He notices her browsing the internet, something she always did back in middle school. He notes she has always been the loner type and not trusting anyone, building walls around herself. His presence here is to shake things up. He’s going to make things interesting if things aren’t. He mentions she is troubled and not because of this desires unleashed phenomenon. Pointing out a certain place is important to her, she could just destroy it if she tires of it. Judging from her state of mind, if she destroys that place, she would take down the entire world with it. Also, there is something in her heart that is just as important. Inaba pretends she doesn’t know but Balloon Vine could see through that. He thinks she might destroy that place if her feelings were found out. Inaba tells him to shut up. It is a sign that she admitted it. Once she does, there’s no turning back. Inaba wonders if he will be doing this to the rest but he says this is just a special visit just for her. Wondering why he used Gossan’s body instead of one of her family members, it’s because not many people would mind a gap in their memory. Inaba shows up at school as everyone prepares to leave for the field trip via bus.

Episode 10
Trekking up the slope, Iori’s desire has unleashed because she’s bugging Taichi to give her a piggy back ride. Inaba remains distant. During cooking, Inaba got hers unleashed when she challenges Iori to see who can cut things faster. Fujishima has her group wait before digging in their curry rice because she’s going to add in a special spice. That spice is love. I guess nobody is bothered to hear her brag since they’re too hungry. Tastes good, huh? While washing the dishes, Taichi points out to Inaba that she has a little bleeding on her fingernail. She flusters and will get the band aid herself. When she sucks her finger, Iori is stunned. She realizes something. She asks if Inaba is in love with Taichi. That’s when Inaba baulks and runs away. She panics now that the truth is out. Once Iori catches up, she wants to really know if it’s true because she was trying to get her and Taichi together so it doesn’t make sense. Since Inaba didn’t say anything, Iori blows her top and becomes more assertive while Inaba is reduced to tears. Character reversal? Just like a variation to the body swap. From what they converse, Inaba had kept quiet because she is afraid they won’t be friends anymore. You know when a boy and girl get romantically involved, friendship goes out the door. She was always alone till she came to high school and joined CRC. They are her first friends and doesn’t want to lose them. Iori dismisses her stupid anxiety because she needs to make clear her feelings and this isn’t about showing signs of weakness. Also, she shouldn’t view and compare herself as a useless person because at the end of the day, everybody will still love Inaba for who she is. Iori vows to always be her friend. Inaba is relieved because she always wanted somebody to tell her that. But she feels it is too late because she’ll get in Iori and Taichi’s way and doesn’t want to ruin CRC. Iori further shrugs off her rubbish thoughts because she’s been trying hard to keep them together. Besides, their friendship won’t end over a lousy guy, right? They both made up and somewhat renew their friendly rivalry over Taichi. I think that guy is going to be the one who is really in trouble.

Just when Iori realizes her desires has stopped being unleashed, Balloon Vine takes over her body. He is here to warn Inaba that although this desires unleashed phenomenon will soon be over, Taichi is in danger. He has fallen. And Balloon Vine didn’t have a hand in it. Inaba becomes devastated thinking Taichi must have fallen over the deep abyss where the garbage is and rushes back. Although Taichi is messed up, he is fine. Turns out he was trying to save a stuck kitten on a tree when the branch broke. Inaba is so relieved that the first thing she did when she goes up to Taichi is to elbow him in the gut! That’s for the unnecessary worries. Then she breaks down and cries uncontrollably. I guess it’s making everyone panic. Did Taichi say something wrong? She won’t stop crying… After the field trip and back at school, Inaba meets Taichi privately. She musters enough courage to confess she loves him. Shocked, stunned, feel honoured, feel happy, blah, blah, blah. You know that response when a girl confesses to you. But… He’s in love with Iori. Inaba laughs and is relieved because it’s not like they’re dating yet so she still has a chance to come in between them and snatch him. I suppose getting him is easy. It’s just the part about fending off Iori… She’s is telling him this because it’s going to be fair game to the finish. She even told Iori about this confession plan of hers. To shut Taichi up, she kisses him. That’s payback for the time he took her first kiss. Inaba leaves and becomes somewhat hysterical. Relieved. Laughing. Crying. Happy. Sad. Just realized she kissed him. It was one helluva crazy day. Inaba returns to the club room and is cheerful than before. Though she can still be her old nasty self if you push her.

Kako Random

Episode 11
On New Year’s Day, Taichi and Inaba are married with kids. JUST KIDDING!!! Seems Iori, Yui and Aoki have turned into kids and like the children their age, they are restless at the shrine. Fujishima spots them and has a feeling she has seen them somewhere before. Taichi says they are relatives. Of course we know they aren’t so we go back in time on the last day before winter break. In the club room, the blackboard had everyone’s name except Taichi’s and a time 12pm-5pm. Suddenly Yui and Iori feel hot within their body and they shrink! They become kids! Although they can identify everyone well, they don’t know why they are here and have the mindset of a kid. The rest think Balloon Vine is at it again. Then when it hits 5pm, the kids turn back into their usual self. So the quintet discuss about this time regression thingy. Iori and Yui have no recollection when they were turned into kids but it seems they vividly remember the memories during that age like it was yesterday. To prevent others from seeing this phenomenon, Inaba suggests that between the stated period, they can hideout in a building near her house that will be undergoing demolition. Taichi goes home and gets teased by his sister about hanging out with his girlfriend on Christmas. Suddenly his sister changes personality. He thinks it’s Balloon Vine but the voice somewhat denies. She is Balloon Vine but is not. Confused? Split personality? She puts it as not the Balloon Vine he knows. Anyway she wants Taichi to be a knight. It will be bad if all of them turned into kids so it’s his job to make sure nothing bad happens. She will keep watch but wants him to keep a secret about her. Otherwise she will make this phenomenon last forever. Next day, Taichi sees Yui arguing with an old friend and karate rival. Chinatsu Mihashi is not pleased Yui broke her promise though Yui doesn’t remember and has long quit the karate club. When the friends meet in the building, once the clock strikes 12, Inaba and Aoki turn into kids. Iori and Yui are so awestruck by Inaba’s cuteness that they start doting on her! I think they are the ones being creepy. So can you blame Inaba for being scared of them? Aoki surprises everyone when he recognizes Yui as Nana’s big sister. Then just before the clock strikes 5, they realize the kids are in kiddie clothes. What happens when they grow big? Yup. They rush to change Inaba but she is too scared to let go of Taichi. I guess that is what happens when you dote too much. So while the guys manage to avert their eyes in time, Inaba is shocked to find herself naked!

The quintet discuss the disturbing theme of having no memories during that 5 hour period. They think Taichi may be the only one who won’t get regressed since his name is not on the board. They also think Balloon Vine should pop up and explain to them but feel he is taking too long this time. Yui asks Aoki about Nana. Who is she? Nana Nishino was a girl who once lived near him. He once dated her during middle school. However she moved away. Yui wonders if she would look like her if she was in high school. No reaction from Aoki. On the way back, Taichi talks to Aoki that he wasn’t himself back then because he would’ve declared how much she loved Yui anyway. Aoki says Taichi has not experienced the regression so he doesn’t know. Because the memories of the period stayed fresh, it’s confusing him. He remembers he loved Nana so much and wonders when he stopped loving her. Is it still there or gone forever? What does it mean to love someone? Yui is looking at old photos during her time with Mihashi. Her sister, Anzu sees this and mentions to her she bumped into Mihashi earlier in the day. She asks why Yui stopped karate but Yui suddenly breaks down and cry. Next day, Taichi meets Iori on his way to the building. Iori wants him to pay attention of how she was as a kid if she gets regressed. Then she mentions about the chance to relive one’s past and do something different because if she does, she would want to redo them better. Iori and Aoki turn into kids this time. Because cheeky Iori is happily clinging to Taichi like her big brother, this doesn’t sit well with Inaba. They’re love rivals, remember? She pulls his ear when Inaba notes how they are in perfect sync, just like a couple. Inaba likes the sound of it and goes off to treat her. Taichi wonders if this is what Iori meant by changing her personality depending on the situation. Inaba asks him how she was when she turned into a child. She was pretty scared of Iori and Yui. Inaba reveals she was always afraid of something. She still is. Thinking everybody has a secret or two they don’t want others to know and sometimes it’s better off not remembering some things about yourself, she is afraid that one day this might someday ruin all of them.

Episode 12
Their worst fear is confirmed: Iori turns into a toddler. Did Inaba get the wrong idea that the guys want her to feed Iori with her breast milk?! While taking a walk, they come into Anzu and Mihashi. They are suspicious of Yui and want an explanation. Inaba takes Aoki and Iori to run while leaving the rest to Taichi. I don’t know how they explained it that it isn’t a love triangle and the baby doesn’t belong to any one of them. But it was good enough for Anzu to return home. Mihashi isn’t done yet. Learning the CRC she joined, she wonders where the cool Yui has gone too. The current Yui is goofy and nothing compared to the old one. Yui asserts she doesn’t remember any promise so Mihashi is going to fight her and open her eyes. Bring it on. Well, Yui lost. She agrees to leave after they promise to explain things to her later. Back at the building, Yui takes out her frustration on little Aoki who still thinks she is Nana’s sister. Once the regression is over, Aoki feels confused if he loves Yui because she looks like Nana. New Year came and went and the day after, Yui regresses to her old self when she is afraid of men. At the end of the day, Mihashi bugs Yui for her answer. Yui is annoyed by her persistence as she doesn’t want to remember about her past. Aoki thinks it is no harm hearing her out but she lashes at him a half hearted guy who loves her because she looks like his old girlfriend has no right to tell her what to do. Aoki replies she isn’t doing this right because she’s not confronting her problems, but running away and making excuses to give up. Oops. I think he just made her tear up. So I guess Taichi has to talk to her alone again. She remembers her promise. Before Mihashi moved away she wanted to fight her in the Nationals. She totally forgot about that, gave up and lived half heartedly. Suddenly Yui confesses she loves him. But it’s just to make an example that if someone kept saying that to you always, would their feelings change if there is no real response? And if the confessor stopped confessing, what should the other person do? Yui used to think she was strong and didn’t rely on others. Now she’s depending on everyone, can’t return the favour, gave up her dream and feels empty.

Everyone except Yui are at the restaurant when Aoki remembers something important. He forgot to be laidback. Huh? He wants to go see Nana now. Taichi accompanies him and on the train, Aoki reveals he had a classmate who died in an accident. She worked really hard and looked what became of her. He’s not saying her efforts were useless. It made him think to enjoy life to the fullest. That way, he can consider his life as awesome when he dies. Aoki meets Nana outside her house. She’s surprised to see him. He confesses he loved her so much but now has someone else whom he loves even more. I hope Nana doesn’t get the wrong idea the person he is in love with is Taichi! No way! They say their goodbyes and their chapter comes to a close. When they return, Aoki confronts Yui. He says living the moment is important to him that’s why he got confused when he remembered his past. He went to see Nana to confirm his love. He really did because he was living life to the fullest. Now he is trying even harder. He was in love with Nana. Now he is in love with Yui not because she looks like Nana but for who she is. This time it’s tears of joy and Yui’s turn to have her say. She knew it all along that she hated herself. She admits making excuses to give up on everything. She used to hate losing. Since when did she stop caring about winning or losing. Thanks to him, she can be strong again. She sums up her courage to hug him. She is relieved that she can do it if she tries. By this time, Aoki regresses to a kid. Yui vows to make him recognize she is the one and only Yui. That isn’t necessary because Aoki could clearly tell who she is. The rest conclude that Aoki have sorted things out that’s why his head is clear. Inaba worries this phenomenon will be a problem if it drags on till school starts. Taichi assures this won’t last long. That blooper causes Inaba to be suspicious that he knows something. Spill it out now!

Episode 13
Taichi tells what happen with his encounter with Balloon Vine The Second. Because of this, The Second possesses Iori’s body and regrets picking Taichi. Now he is going to pay. Taichi regresses to a kid and this time the times are uncertain. It’s no more the usual 12 to 5. Anybody can change any time. Now they can’t even go home. But Iori wants to go home just to talk to her mom when she regresses into a child. Dead into the night, she returns back to normal and since Taichi is still awake, they talk. Iori can’t help think about redoing her past because it leaves her feeling guilty and regret. After watching how amazing Yui and Aoki were, she doesn’t think she can be like them. Morning comes, Yui has a little trouble telling her mom on the phone about being away last night. Shortly, Iori mom calls to say her second dad wants to get back together. Iori panics and tells her friends her story. But she thinks this may be her chance to redo things differently. If she had done so, everything would have worked out better. There were so many choices and she feels she chose the wrong one. Then she gets a call. This time from her second dad. Seems pretty frantic. Now Iori is frantic. Then she regresses but only for a minute. She wants to go save mom because she loves her. Just when she really needs to go, her friends tell her to hold her horses. Iori clearly remembers what happened then and breaks down. Inaba tells her off she’s in this mess because she didn’t tell anyone and tried to do everything herself. Her friends believe that if it’s her problem, it is also theirs. All she needs to do is to say it and ask. With that, Iori requests their help. The quintet rush to Iori’s place but Aoki turns into a kid. Yui offers to look after him and will catch up once he returns to normal. Outside Iori’s house, they hear plates crashing. Iori bangs on the door but she regresses into a baby. Taichi and Inaba take her and run away.

Balloon Vine (in Gossan’s body) meets them as Iori returns back to normal. He says the phenomenon is over now and he didn’t appear sooner because he had things to take care off. Because The Second had her own ideas and acting on her own conscious, he made sure that will never happen nor will she meddle in their affairs again. Balloon Vine asks Iori if she wants to do things differently. Because he causes her a bit of a problem the last time, he feels he can make it up to her by offering her to return to her past and redo things. Iori doesn’t think it’s possible. She always wanted to be herself and mommy might be happier. She won’t even cause anybody trouble. Taichi and Inaba hold her hand and say the love her the way she is. After Iori composes herself, she rejects his offer. She is who she is now because of her past. Redoing those past mistakes would mean she right now is a mistake. She wouldn’t be here had she not lived her past the way she did. Therefore, she won’t redo her past. Everyone then gathers outside Iori’s house as her mom lets them in. Her dad went out for a while so Iori asks mom if she loves him or feels happy around him. There was a time she would but now she’s not sure. She let him lived back here again because she thought Iori was trying to find something. Iori mentions about redoing her past. All she cared was if mommy was happy. Mommy on the other hand doesn’t mind putting up with him if Iori is happy. But Iori can’t be happy if mommy is not happy. That settles it. The father returns and starts banging on the door like crazy. What are they going to do? Call the police? Mommy will handle it herself. Once she opens the door, she starts scolding him and tells him to scram! That guy turns into a coward and even apologizes! He even promised never to return! Wow! Don’t underestimate this woman. It only proves he was just all hot air and a tin can. In the end, Iori decides to be thankful instead of holding a grudge. It was the only way she could move on. Because of him, she is here now. Oh, not forgetting her friends too. Yui makes up with Mihashi and thinks of taking up karate again. She renews their promise that if they are going to face each other, it’ll be at the Nationals. Taichi narrates their lives return back to normal. It is unclear if Balloon Vine will show up again and stir things up. But as long as they’re together, they can get through it.

Michi Random

Episode 14
On the eve of Valentine’s Day, Taichi confesses to Iori he loves her and wants to go out with her. However she turns him down and wants him to forget she ever said she loved him. It’s no wonder that Taichi sinks into depression on Valentine’s Day. They’re in the middle of their fourth phenomenon courtesy of Balloon Vine. Three days ago, he tells the CRC members they will have emotion transmission. They will randomly feel the emotions of others whether they want to know it or not. The timing and whose emotions they feel will change at random. You’ll know you will receive it when you suddenly receive thoughts of the person. The person whose heart was probed will know who receives them but those on the receiving side won’t know who else receives them. Inaba asks about The Second and Balloon Vine answers ‘they’ have taken an interest in him since he has become more interesting. Inaba wants to get back at Balloon Vine and others who are observing them so that they will stop this phenomenon experiment on them once and for all. Except Iori who seems to be spacing out. Fujishima could tell Taichi is having love problems. She even guesses right Iori rejected him. That’s because she’s the class’ Love God. Whatever. Anyway this is happy news for her because this means Iori is one step nearer for her for the taking. She tells him to stop moping and go out with Inaba (she could guess that too because it’s pretty obvious on Inaba’s face) so that she’ll have a brighter chance with Inaba. Taichi receives Inaba’s feelings on whether to give him chocolates or not. When he returns to the club room, he finds out from the rest that Gossan may quit their club as their advisor. Because it’s his turn to do administrative work next year, he can’t handle 2 clubs at the same time. He is also the advisor for Jazz Club. Obviously they want Gossan as their advisor because he doesn’t check on them and leaves them to their own device. If they get a serious advisor, they can kiss their freedom goodbye. They decide to check out the Jazz Club to see what they’re up against. Guess what? Gossan is playing the saxophone like a pro! Wow! As club member Shouto Shiroyama points out, they have a good reason to keep him.

The CRC members further discuss it is going to be tough to take the Jazz Club down. Yui and Aoki receive transmission and find out about Inaba’s crush on Taichi. So Inaba no choice has to spill everything that she and Iori are head to head in seducing Taichi. She assures it won’t turn into anything messy. When everybody learns Iori turned Taichi down, Inaba becomes upset because it seems like her feelings were tossed away. Iori tries to calm her down but the transmission makes Inaba hear Iori’s feelings that it’s none of her business and her selfish attitude. Iori then receives Inaba’s feelings, something which the latter quickly brushes off. However it’s too late because Iori ‘broke’. Later Iori and Inaba talk. Iori tells her she doesn’t want to go out with Taichi anymore and thus not to mind her. Inaba thinks she should rethink her decision because of this phenomenon which is impairing their decision making. Iori says there is no difference with Balloon Vine’s or external influence. Iori and Taichi confessed only because of the body swapping. Besides, does Inaba really want her and Taichi to start dating? Later Inaba calls Taichi to talk. She receives his feelings he has trouble choosing between them. Taichi praises both of them and I think Inaba loves to hear all that. She gives him her chocolates. It’s a day late but what the heck. Though Inaba doesn’t know what to do, at least she knows she loves him. Back in the club room, Aoki isn’t happy Yui gave the same chocolates to Taichi that she gave to him. Obligation chocolate? What about all the other males she has given to? Her classmates and dojo mates… Well, it shows that there is progress in overcoming her fear over men. Of course this also irks Inaba that Yui may even like Taichi. But she brushes it off and likes him just as a friend. Then they get down to business to discuss what they shall do for club presentation to outdo the Jazz Club. Iori comes in and since she’s being gloomy, she decides to leave. Not even Aoki could stop her. Aoki walks home alone thinking how he thought if he be himself, everyone would go back to being themselves. That didn’t work. Balloon Vine walks up to him to ask him what he can do. Noting he is the most useless out of the 5, he says it’s not that he’s not doing anything, rather he can’t do anything. Receiving Yui’s thoughts on him, Aoki feels if Yui is thinking about him, he can fight harder than everyone else. He asserts he will be himself. Not interesting? Then quit experimenting on them. Balloon Vine walks away hinting this may be the last time he’ll ever talk to him.

Episode 15
Shiroyama tries to confess to Iori but she doesn’t want to hear it. He tries telling her good points so she tells him off he’s just like everybody else who love her good side. He doesn’t even know the real her. Later Kaoru Setouchi (supposedly who likes Shiroyama) confronts Iori about her sh*tty attitude. Iori tells it back to her she’s the same with a straight face. Rumours have gone around about Iori’s rejection and she doesn’t even care about dismissing them. Taichi tries to talk to her and give her some encouragement but her feelings transmitted to him to stay out of this because it’s none of his business. Taichi then hears Inaba’s feelings to disband CRC. He meets up with her to talk about it. She admits she has been thinking about it for some time. Because Balloon Vine sees them as a set, if they disband, he may not see them as a set anymore and stop the phenomena. Of course this isn’t guaranteed it will happen this way. More importantly, Iori’s negative attitude is affecting the entire class and they need to do something about it before her reputation gets worse. Taichi wonders if she’s okay that they will have to separate to stop this phenomenon. Of course not. She wants them all to be together. Taichi thinks the same too as Inaba makes him repeat his last line about wanting her to stay on. With emotion. Then Taichi shouts out loud his rejection to get over it. He feels better. Back home, he talks to his sister about the Valentine chocolates she gave. He thought she gave it to him as a lover but she laughs it off her love for him is just brotherly. She gives him her first kiss on his cheek. He is damn happy about it. Oh… Those feelings got transmitted to his friends. Disgusting lolicon… Or rather, siscon… Yui notices Iori being indirectly bullied by the other girls and she doesn’t fight back.

Iori decides not to enter CRC to help with the rest complete the presentation. Yui receives Inaba’s thoughts that she’s scared while Aoki remains positive that they’ll be here for Iori if she needs them. Yui then goes to talk to Iori and this time she wants to save her like how she did then. Iori tells her off she is tired of this ‘getting back to normal’ crap that everybody is telling her as no one sees the real her. Yui hears Iori doesn’t want to be friends anymore so she tries to salvage the talk by saying she’ll still be her friend even if she changes. Really? Which part of her does she wants to be friends? Will she still be her friend if she turns into a vicious criminal? When she hears Yui’s thoughts that she won’t be the Iori they know, I guess Iori made her point and leaves. As Yui waits at the bus stop, Balloon Vine pops up to talk to her. He asks her opinion of this phenomenon. At first Yui’s thoughts of asking for help reach the guys. But she decides not to rely on anyone and is ready to take down Balloon Vine if needed. She’s scared and hates this phenomenon. But she won’t run away. Everybody is trying their best so she’s going to do it too. Balloon Vine thinks this is a bad idea and should stop it as nothing he says will have any effect. Noting she has become stronger than Aoki, it has her less interesting than him. Ironically this is what makes it interesting. Taichi arrives on scene first after Balloon Vine has left. Yui admits her talk with Iori failed. Then she lectures about him going soft and doesn’t know what Iori wants. Iori’s bad streak continues. Her favourite hair clip breaks, she got into a fight with mom and she overslept. Now it’s Inaba’s turn to talk to her. She wants her to tell everything. Because she wants to save her like she did for her. It’s what friends do. Iori chides her not to force her ideals on her. Because she is persistent, Iori will let her know straight from her mouth what she thinks. She doesn’t understand Inaba. First, Inaba forced Taichi and her to date. When she was ready to do so, then she gets in between them and confessed she likes Taichi. So when she rejected him, she got mad. So what is it that she wants? She fans up her feelings, get in her way and screw up everything. Has she ever thought how she felt? That’s why she should be the one asking what she wants. Inaba is left speechless.

Episode 16
CRC minus Iori are hurrying up to finish their presentation. Gossan comes in to check on them and because both they and the Jazz Band are working so hard, he’ll be rooting for both sides. The gang are surprised that he acted like a real teacher for once. Iori is on the verge of breaking down. She’s had enough of others believing in her that she’ll return to normal. She doesn’t deserve those good feelings of her friends. Taichi and Inaba hear Kaoru and her friends badmouthing Iori. Taichi stands up to tell them not to believe in the rumours surrounding Iori. Proof? He admits he loves Iori and went a bit too far and almost come upon her. That’s why Iori can’t trust anyone and if there is anybody who should be blamed, it should be him. Everyone is shocked that Taichi tried to rape Iori so Fujishima calls her dad to arrest this criminal. Just kidding! Inaba punches him in the gut and takes him out to talk. Unknown to everyone, Iori just heard the whole story outside class. Inaba berates Taichi for making this his fault but he feels he had no choice. Even so, that didn’t solve the basic problem. Fujishima comes by and thanks them that with Taichi’s actions, the rumours on Iori will be a thing of the past soon. She will come up with something to clear Taichi’s name. The reason she never intervened like she always does was because she thought about it and realized it wasn’t something she should get her nose into. She decided to watch her classmates grow and develop from afar. So she’s their mother now? Iori is confronted with Kaoru and her friends. They think she set up Taichi to say those things and know about their showdown with Jazz Club. Iori doesn’t give a damn and notes she isn’t even in the Jazz Club. Except maybe for Shiroyama. Kaoru gets enraged and almost loses it if not for her friends. Then Iori heard her planning to do something but can’t make out what it is.

After the exams, the CRC members return to finish their presentation. To their horror, their room is trashed. There goes all the hard work. It would be easy to suspect the Jazz Band but they’re spending extra hours practising so they don’t have time to do this. Instead of getting angry and moping about, Taichi suggests redoing everything again. So it won’t look nice but they’ll have to make it up with the content and the way they present. Iori then sees the chaos and becomes upset. Taichi hears her thoughts how she is going to kill the culprit. Inaba gets a call from Fujishima. She gives her Kaoru’s number. Taichi and Inaba confront Kaoru to warn her somebody is after her life. She feigns not knowing anything. Iori is here and is going really going to kill her. Her enraged face is enough to scare Kaoru. Taichi and Inaba hold her back so that Kaoru can live longer. Then they have a thorough talk with Iori. Because Inaba wants to share her pain, she reveals her most embarrassing secret. She likes Taichi so much that she even dreams of doing erotic things with him. She is even going to list down the positions! I think Taichi is the one more embarrassed. The bottom line is, she never would’ve accepted this but now she doesn’t need logic or prove anymore since she has faith in herself. Iori tells them to cut the crap because she’s still not convinced. She lashes out she is tired of all this. Tired of being the tragic heroine. How many times does she have to suffer to be torn to shreds? What kind of Iori do they want? The happy Iori? They realize they’ve been forcing Iori to put up an ideal version of her they want. She can’t do that anymore. Her true self is a dark and cold person. She could have pulled it off if she had lived a normal life but ever since Balloon Vine came into their life, her life is messed up. She got her body possessed, nearly died and turned down his offer to redo her past. Now it’s Inaba’s turn to lash back. She calls her stupid for trying to live up to everyone’s high expectations, failing to live up to it and ran away. She should just do what she wants to do since it’s her damn life. What does Taichi have to say? When he confessed he loved her, it was because he never saw her real side. It’s only natural she rejected him. Now that he does, he hopes his confession this time will get through the real her. He will always love her regardless of which Iori she is. Because he wants to be her friend. Iori wants some time to think about this. As Inaba heads home, she hears a group of guys discussing how they trashed the CRC (Kaoru ordered them to). Inaba confronts them but they silence her. Her friends hear her feelings pleading for help.

Episode 17
The delinquents take Inaba to the school’s warehouse. Her feelings enable her friends to know where she is and rush to her side. Except for Iori who is lying around wondering to go or not to go. After thinking about Taichi’s word, she finally makes up her mind. She’s had it with this and will do what she wants because it’s her damn life. She gets up and rushes to the warehouse. Kaoru is with the delinquents and they are putting the blame on her that all this happened because she told them to mess up their presentation. Taichi and co enter to confront them. Knowing they aren’t the kind up for conversation, the guys punch one in the face. Yui makes use of her karate lessons and the one from Taichi to knock out the other. Crotch attack! But the third delinquent holds a knife to Inaba’s throat. Nobody do anything rash. Then Iori comes in. She offers to help him out since she has a grudge with these guys. The rest think she is betraying them but in her heart she is wishing like mad for it to happen. Iori goes up close to the delinquent like as though she wants to kiss then. Then her feelings transmit to the rest to save Inaba. Yui instantly knocks him out. After Taichi unties Inaba, she hugs him in relief. Iori eases herself. She was scared the entire time she put up that act. The friends talk to Kaoru as they learn why she asked those guys to mess up their room. She never wanted to but her friends kept pressuring her to do it. Iori wanted to slap her but instead gave her some palm push. Was it too hard? Kaoru felt bad and apologizes. Iori asks about her bad girl attitude. Something to do about the guy she used to like. Iori notes they are the same because she looks like a girl trying too hard to be someone she is not. After making Kaoru spill out what she wants to do in her life, Iori wants to be good friends with her. They are alike after all. Later the rest praise Iori’s stunning actions while apologizing they were trying to force their ideals on her. They never expected her to be friends with Kaoru. No normal person would have done that. Well, she’s done on what is normal and not. Suddenly one of the delinquents pops up from behind to get his revenge. He strikes with a metal bar but Taichi protects Inaba and gets hit.

In a dream-like state, Taichi and Iori talk. They talk about how they were in love and glad they loved each other. Iori wants to reset their relationship. He wakes up in the infirmary room (because school is much closer than the hospital). Inaba is so relief. Taichi hears her feelings on how much she loves him. Taichi asks if she would like to go out with him. After a streak of embarrassing reactions, she agrees. Balloon Vine approaches Iori to tell her this phenomenon has ended. She accuses him of for choosing the worst possible time to transmit her worst possible feelings. He chose precise moments to make things worse even if he said they were random. He did it to make her hate herself. Balloon Vine isn’t sure if he did that but seems he didn’t deny it either. But he tells her the things she did was something that she decided for herself. He adds that they’ve reached a nice point and never imagined he would be like this with them and wonders if himself is strange. In the aftermath, Kaoru has a total makeover that nobody recognizes her! She loses the bad girl attitude and is much prettier. Everyone is surprised she and Iori have become good friends. Did anything happen? Bet they didn’t know. Fujishima assures Taichi that the delinquents will never touch them again thanks to her father. Bet you don’t want to know what underhanded tactics she did. CRC do their lively presentation in the hall and even add in a few unscripted lines. The one that hints to everybody that Taichi and Inaba are dating. Embarrassing the duo may be (and in a way confirming it), the crowd goes wild. After the presentation, Gossan goes to see the CRC and commends the efforts they put in. Of course he also finds the Jazz Club to be pretty good. So he has decided. He is going to mentor both clubs! Can he do it? Well, all he needs is to be CRC’s moderator and will supervise the Jazz Club’s practice during his spare time. That’s great but just a little problem… All this wouldn’t have happened if he had decided this earlier! Inaba twists his arm as revenge! All the effort for nothing… Though it may not look like it, Yui and Aoki are getting closer. She helps him study for his make-up exam because he knows he doesn’t want to be left behind a grade. Inaba and Taichi are officially dating and she has no problem getting very close to Taichi even if they’re in public. Why hesitate, right? Iori regains her popularity. Spring arrives and the CRC gets ready to recruit new members. Anybody weird enough to join them? Noting that Balloon Vine hasn’t showed up since the last school year, they’ll still keep alert for who knows when he will strike again when they least expected it. The road is long ahead and as long as they plant their feet firmly on the ground, their hearts will always be connected with one another.

Hearts Aflutter…
If there is one thing that is certain, the sci-fi phenomena did change the quintet. It could have been just another boring and uneventful day at CRC so was it a blessing in disguise for them? Despite how cruel and selfish these phenomena may seem, but it allowed them to discover their true selves as well as others. With the body swapping phenomenon, they are able to feel what it is like in the shoes of others. For desires unleashed, feelings that they never could express aloud and kept under full control are done without hesitation. Emotion transmission has them knowing what others think and feel. Time regression allows you to relive your childhood days again albeit for a short period of time. Perhaps life could have been more peaceful had they not discover their other side and they may go through life without ever knowing them. It was not to be as they are forced to face their inner feelings and deal with it without anyone else guiding them. I don’t consider Balloon Vine’s warning and announcement to be any much of an advice. Now that they have gone through a series of emotions, they understand each other better and possibly if something similar of this sort happens in the future, they’ll be much prepared for it. Though I can’t say that they will be perfect in handling such phenomena when the time comes.

As you can see, the main quintet of CRC may look like ordinary students but just like everyone else, they have deep and dark secrets that they don’t want others to know. Like Yui, she was once afraid of men and God knows how long she put up a brave front just to act normal. It feels like a ticking bomb and anytime it could explode and turn her into a man hater. Once she identified and got over the issue, her life is pretty much tolerable. Aoki is the most carefree among the lot and that doesn’t change much after realizing the need to live life to the fullest. But at least now he knows why he does it and not doing it blindly. Inaba’s character feels like she has a double personality. At first we know her as having a distrustful personality and rarely putting up a smile. She even scorns her own big brother. Then when her secret feelings for Taichi were revealed, her character turned into one of a normal high school girl in love. In short, we see her displaying much more emotion than before that it makes you wonder if she is the Inaba we know at first.

Iori I feel is the character that this series focused most and emotionally bears the most brunt from the random phenomena. First she had trouble accepting her multiple personalities. It really bugged her to which of her various personalities is the real her. Well, to me if I was her friend, interacting with them normally like she had always been seemed fine. So couldn’t she just picked this one and go with it? Of course she would spam you back with that ideal crap thingy and it’s not for us to decide what kind of Iori she wants to be. Then came her conflicting feelings with Taichi and Inaba. Again as an outsider I would have thought she should just stick with the current personality she is familiar with. That will be fine provided if Taichi doesn’t know her other personalities. But now that he does, he even accepted them, said he will love her no matter who she is, isn’t that good enough? So I don’t really understand her problem when she couldn’t love Taichi back. Sure, the phenomenon is wrecking havoc in their lives but that just feels like an excuse to run away. So I guess to maintain her sanity, she resets her relationship to give the green light to Taichi to date Inaba. Now that they are dating, I’m not sure if Iori intends to still seduce Taichi. It’s fair game now, right? It got me thinking. Maybe Taichi got rejected so many times by Iori and despite his constant assurances he loves her, his feelings changed and moved on with Inaba. Doesn’t it feel like that? Taichi is the centre among the friends is the same selfless person from start to end. He loves helping out others and puts them before himself. Who could forget the painful crotch lesson he thought Yui? I don’t think I can even do that.

Balloon Vine remains the biggest mystery. His actions baffle us as he claims he is experimenting on the quintet to find something interesting. However why or what is his intention is not the main focus of this series because as seen, it is how the friends handle and resolve the phenomena. But still I can’t help think the strange creature he is. His existence itself raises lots of questions. What interesting thing does he intend to find in this experiment? It is indicated there are others like him so is he acting alone or under orders of higher up beings? What is The Second’s relation to him? There are surely equally, if not more interesting groups of people elsewhere in town or over the next city so why is he sticking with this same group? Sure, you would want some consistency in your test results but only them? Even so, are we sure they are the only ones subjected to this experiment? Who knows? Maybe there are other groups being experimented on. We just don’t know since their cases are not related. In the end, we don’t get a single clue or idea of what Balloon Vine is or his ultimate goal. Even he himself hinted that he might not know the answer. That’s one way to be interesting, right? Or maybe, I’m just speculating because I think he is trying to fine or define something with himself but is unsure so he tests it out on the CRC gang.

The other side characters don’t really have much impact except maybe for Fujishima who often helps out Taichi and the rest indirectly. Now that Iori is a free woman again, is there any chance of her trying to make Iori hers? She has a weird personality which makes her interesting in a way too, right? So why isn’t Balloon Vine making her part of his experiment? Gossan feels sloppy as a teacher but he is fair and nice. He got possessed so many times by Balloon Vine and it makes me wonder if this guy ever starts getting worried about the lapse in his memories? The eternal happy look on his shabby face indicates he isn’t too bothered. I suppose he is the kind of guy who doesn’t keep track of time. More of this and he’ll soon start questioning where the hell has his life vanished too when he starts getting old and reflecting back during his middle age days.

Something about the art and drawing of the characters that made me think how familiar they are to another anime series. Hey! Don’t they look like rip-offs from K-ON!? Don’t you think Iori resembles very closely to K-ON!’s Ui? What about Yui? I thought she had that uncanny resemblance to Tsumugi and Ritsu from K-ON! Just change her hair colour. Inaba may be looking like K-ON!’s Mio if she had longer hair. If Taichi was a girl, he would probably have looked very close like K-ON!’s Yui. Same case with Aoki. If he was a girl and had longer hair, he could’ve been Tsumugi’s clone! And maybe it’s because Fujishima is a bespectacled girl, it made me draw comparisons to K-ON!’s Sawako who also wears a pair of glasses. This anime is produced by Silver Link who also made Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu and though, Cube x Cursed x Curious and Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai Yo Ne. Something about Iori that bugs me. Something that can’t take my focus away from her face for most of the time. No, it’s not she is that pretty but rather her mole on her chin. That little dot beneath her mouth… Can’t… Help… Stare… At it…

In the voice acting department, Aki Toyosaki displays one of the most versatile roles ever. Because of her role as Iori who has multiple personalities, her voice changes to suit the different types of emotions that her character goes through. When she was the carefree Iori, her airheadness almost made her sound like K-ON!’s Yui or other airhead characters that I am familiar with. Then when she breaks down and starts lashing out, it is a different side of her that I never hear of (or at least not very often). She did move away from the stereotypic airhead characters roles like Medaka in Medaka Box and Kunieda in Beelzebub but her trademark voice is still there. Maybe it is just me because I feel that Miyuki Sawashiro casted as Inaba makes her sound a little too mature for her character. She does play high school girls’ role before like Kanbaru in Bakemonogatari, Ayane in Kimi Ni Todoke and Naze in Medaka Box but somehow I just feel that her voice doesn’t suit the character right. Kenji Fujiwara (Ladd in Baccano) doubles as both Gossan and Balloon Vine. But it is his performance as the monotonous latter that nails it. Try speaking like a zombie with no emotions whatsoever for most of your lines. Other casts include Takahiro Mizushima as Taichi (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Hisako Kanemoto as Yui (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Takuma Terashima as Aoki (Yamaken in Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun), Shizuka Itou as Fujishima (Haruka in Amagami SS), Maaya Uchida as Mihashi (Rea in Sankarea), Haruka Tomatsu as Nana (Lala in To Love-Ru) and Sumire Uesaka as Kaoru (Sora in Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai).

The first ending theme is Paradigm by Eufonius. Maybe it is because of her voice that makes this anime pop to have that sci-fi feel in the song. The second opening theme is Kimi Rhythm by Masaki Imai. Somehow I don’t find the male voice singing this piece to be suitable. The song is okay but it’s just that from the flow and direction of where this anime is heading, I thought it didn’t really fit. Each different arc has a different ending theme. They are sung by J-rock band called Team Nekokan featuring another artiste. Kokoro No Kara for Hito Random’s arc features Junca Amaoto, Cry Out featuring Atsuko is for Kizu Random arc, Rekka Katakiri is featured in Salvage for Kako Random arc and I scream Chocolatl has Lia for the final Michi Random arc. All feels like anime pop with the exception for Salvage which is rock based. On a trivial note as each arc passes, the blackboard of CRC gets cluttered with more and more random notes and doodles. So who wants to go to Disneyland? Who wants some curry? Who is going to do something erotic? Who marries who again? Girls to do killer cosplay? Steel cage death match? Are these serious matters? Maybe to them.

Browsing through Wikipedia, I noticed that the light novel which this anime is based on is still ongoing. There are many more random phenomena and arcs so it’s safe to say that Balloon Vine or whoever behind these experiments targeting the CRC members isn’t gone for good. I just hope with so many sci-fi phenomena that they have gone through, it won’t break them and turn them into emotionally unstable human beings. So far so good as we have seen. They might have been able to overcome the flurry of different emotional states but being human, there is only so much one can take before snapping. We see how close Iori was to that. She even had a dice with death. Sure, they have each other as support to lean on. But not trying to be a pessimist, can that go on forever? If the day ever comes that they break down and lose their sanity, I feel that they will have lost to Balloon Vine. So better be strong and hang in there!

As humans are complicated creatures because of the different feelings and emotions we experience, I am guessing that this series is trying to hint to us what we are supposed to do when we are confronted with feelings that we do not like or are unfamiliar with. They come spontaneous so you have to deal it with them right now or sooner the better to minimize damage. How would you react if somebody you know starts displaying emotions that you never knew he/she could? Would it surprise you if you yourself one day discover emotions that you have never experienced before? Human emotions easily change. One second you’re happy, then the next you can be sad and gloomy. You can’t explain it in words sometimes. Sadly in the real world, you don’t need to have these kind of sci-fi phenomena because people these days are overly sensitive and edgy. You have to be extra careful in what you say or do otherwise… Lawsuits, revenge acts, ostracized, etc. I suppose having negative feelings is part of being human. But don’t forget, we too have beautiful feelings and it is a balance of both that makes us human. Interesting bunch aren’t we humans? So Balloon Vine, maybe he should take up the challenge by getting every human in this world involved with body swapping, desires unleashing, time regression and emotion transmission. Because there is this celebrity that I want to swap bodies with and want to know if ever there are any feelings harboured for me that goes beyond idol-fan relationship… On second thought, maybe some feelings are better left not known.